Athena Strand Murder Case Takes Shock Turn as Accused FedEx Driver Reveals His Reasoning


Police have released the arrest warrant affidavit for Tanner Horner, the FedEx driver who has confessed to kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Athena Strand.

Horner, 31, delivered a package to the girl’s home in Wise County, Texas, on Nov. 30. Athena’s stepmother, Elizabeth Strand, called police at around 6:30 p.m. that evening to report her stepdaughter’s disappearance.

Athena’s body was found a couple of days later.

The newly released affidavit reveals why Horner allegedly committed the murder. A copy of the affidavit was obtained by KTVT-TV.

According to the affidavit, Horner said he accidentally hit Athena with his van as he was backing up after delivering the package to her home.

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He told investigators the girl was not seriously injured and that she was talking to him and told him her name.

Afraid that Athena would tell her father about the accident, Horner said he panicked and put her in the van, where he attempted to break the girl’s neck.

When that failed, he strangled her and dumped her near a body of water.

Horner has been charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping and is being held in jail on a $1.5 million bond, WFAA-TV reported.

If convicted, prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

FedEx has responded to the case, saying in a Thursday statement, “We share in the collective grief surrounding this heartbreaking tragedy, and our thoughts remain with the family of Athena Strand. There is no higher priority for us — and our network of 6,000 service provider companies — than ensuring the safety of our operations within the communities we serve.”

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According to KTVT, the package that Horner delivered was a Christmas present for Athena, a box of “You Can Be Anything” Barbie dolls sent by Athena’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy.

“Athena was robbed of the opportunity to grow up to be anything she wanted to be. And this present, ordered out of innocence and love, is one she will never receive,” Gandy said.

“I was supposed to bring Athena back home … after Christmas break. Now, instead, Athena will be cremated and she will come home in an urn.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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